Tag Archives: Arvind K.Pandey

In Conversation With Well- Known British Author Jeremy Seabrook On Education System

JeremySeabrook: Never Missed To Say Right Words Always

JeremySeabrook: Never Missed To Say Right Words Always!

In the long writing career, spanning over nearly two decades, I got many chances to interact with enlightened minds and share with them a piece of my mind in matters pertaining to critical issues. A long back ago when I was regular contributor for The Statesman’s Viewpoint Column ( Calcutta Edition), I came in touch with Jeremy Seabrook who was then writing for one of its popular columns.

This conversation related with falling standards of education system took place after I came to read his article” Learning Revisited” published in The Statesman on March 14, 2005.


My  Viewpoint: 

Your write-up is an eye-opener, allowing one to reckon with the hidden facets of education. I am appalled at the manner in which institutions offering so-called gems of knowledge, which in reality are antithetical to creative tendencies lying latent within the recipients, have solidified their base. One reason for it could be that parents are now no longer interested in “value-oriented” teaching methods, simply because it stands in the way of attaining ‘name and fame’. No wonder this could be the reason behind the mind-boggling network of coaching factories, which are making huge profit in the name of offering conductive atmosphere for cracking the entrance tests. 

This attitude of parents has brought a sea change in the attitude of present day students, who weigh everything in materialistic yardsticks or, in other words, in rupee:dollar ratio. After all, who has time for values in the fast-paced life of ours! The real quest for supreme knowledge would always remain a distant dream in absence of change of mindset, especially the parents.  Well, it’s never too easy to change mindset without giving way to measures mired in transparent means. What has guaranteed failure of projects in this regard has been wide gap between theory and practice besides infrastructural bottlenecks. Let’s realize that mere propaganda is not going to solve this issue. 

Unfortunately, this is what both Left and Right wings are used to. Their stances, diametrically opposite to each other, have wiped out the vigour of those wishing to make worthwhile contributions, so much so that if one does not yield to their outdated notions one is bound to invite troubles of all sorts. The message is clear: Rise above ideological fanaticism to stop the degradation of education system, something so imperative to prevent the innocent minds turning into  robot. 

Vivekananda rightly remarked that ” education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and run riot there, undigested, all life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas”. Will anyone please translate this into reality? 


Jeremy Seabrook: One Of The Great Writers Who Inspired Me To Keep Writing!

Jeremy Seabrook: One Of The Great Writers Who Inspired Me To Keep Writing!

Jeremy Seabrook’s Viewpoint:

Many thanks for your helpful and kind e-mail. Indeed, education has become not an end in itself, noble and worthwhile, but an instrument for material gain and industrial conformism. In this sense, of course, the educational system is only an emanation of the society that produces it, and an expression of the social values and mores of which it is a symptom. Intervention for change involves a complete change in the social and moral structures of globalism-no small thing, but a project we should not abandon simply because of its apparent attainability. 


About Jeremy Seabrook:


My first book was The Unprivileged, 1967, the story of my own family, a path breaking oral history from the late 18th century to the 1960s. This was followed by City Close-Up, a portrait, through the words of the people, of Blackburn in Lancashire.
In the 1970s, I wrote What Went Wrong? Working People and the Ideals of the Labour Movement; a book which, when published in the USA, was sub-titled Why hasn’t Having More Made People Happier?

Mother and Son, a memoir, appeared in 1980, and an indictment of Thatcher’s Britain,Unemployment, in 1982.
Work on India and Bangladesh followed, notably, Notes from another India and Children of Other Worlds, a comparison of child labour in nineteenth century London and present-day Dhaka in Bangladesh. My book, Love in a Different Climate, described how male same-sex relationships in India differ from those in the West.

 I have contributed to most major newspapers in Britain over the years, and have written for Granta. I am a regular contributor to New Internationalist – which has published three of my books in the last decade, most recently Consuming Cultures: Globalization and Local Lives. I write for Race and Class and Third World Resurgence, based in Penang, Malaysia.

Courtesy: http://jeremyseabrook.net/biography.html


More About Jeremy Seabrook:

“He became an associate honorary fellow at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies 1995 to 1998 and an associate at the Institute of Race Relations, UK, from 2004 onwards.

He has made several documentaries for BBC radio and TV on social, environmental and developmental issues.

Since 1963, Seabrook has written for publications including: New Society, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, New Statesman, New Internationalist, Race and Class, Third World Resurgence, Third World Network and others.

He has also written over 40 books, including;

Travels in the Skin Trade – looking at the psychology of western men who travel to southeast Asia for sexual adventures (Pluto Press).

A World Growing Old – the implications of an ageing population, north and south (Pluto Press).”

Courtesy: The Guardian

What will be her future?

What will be her future?


Jeremy Seabrook


The Statesman ( Kolkata Edition)

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Population Explosion Is More Dangerous Than Nuclear Explosion

That's Commonplace In  India!

That’s Commonplace In India!

The governments, across the globe, have become highly suspicious about the activities taking place in the world of social media. In some circles, especially among the bureaucratic class, which in my eyes are comprised of dullest minds, look with disdain at people involved in world of social media. For instance, Facebook for them is still some sort of time pass, when it has emerged as a powerful medium to shape vision of present and coming generations. It’s highly amusing that if the activities on Facebook are such harmless affair then what’s the need to monitor it? The truth is that it has become a powerful weapon to shatter the lies spread by government. It’s shattering their propaganda, with better version of any critical issue, haunting the society.

Anyway, this post is not intended to discuss about the influence of social media. It’s about one of the worst problems faced by India: Population Explosion. I am presenting the excerpts from a thought-provoking conversation that we had on Facebook. I must thank the participants that by giving way to such lively well-meaning thoughts, they added a new dimension in the stature of Facebook. Few participants expressed their views in Hindi. I have added English version of their comments, which highlights the essence of what they expressed in Hindi.


Deewaker Pandey, New Delhi:

ये जनसँख्या असंतुलन देश की समस्याओं को बढ़ा रहा है केवल.. क्यूंकि संसाधन तो बढ़ नही रहे.. वो घट रहे बस और लोग बढते जा रहे.

[The growing population imbalance is merely adding new problems. Resources are decreasing but population is increasing with each passing day.]

Arvind K. Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

Well, one of my close friends, Carmen, living in a different nation, always feels as if she has seen/faced the worst. I ask her to visit  India and travel in over crowded compartment of train, no less than a Nazi torture cell. I am sure, after having such rough travelling experience, she would start imagining combis of her nation were better,  and she would then, definitely, run away to her nation, shedding all romantic notions aka Taj Mahal.

Nadeem Akhtar, Chief Copy Editor, The Public Agenda, Ranchi, Jharkhand:

अरविंद जी, पूरे सम्मान के साथ इस विषय पर मेरी असहमति है। मैं इस मसले को सामाजिक मानता हूं और इस पर कानून के पक्ष में नहीं हूं। आपको पता होगा कि चीन में भी जनसंख्या नियंत्रण के लिए नीति लागू हुई थी, वन चाइल्ड पॉलिसी लेकिन वहां भी सरकार ने कोई कानून नहीं बनाया था। हां, इसके बावजूद चीन में बेतरह अत्याचार हुए। एक नीति मात्र बन जाने से किस प्रकार आम जन पर अत्याचार किया जा सकता है, यह चीन की निरंकुश शासन प्रणालि के कर्ता-धर्ताओं से सीखना चाहिए। भारत, एक वैविध्य सांस्कृतिक चेतना वाला राज्य है। यहां राजसत्ता अगर ऐसे संवेदनशील मामले पर कानून का चाबुक चलायेगी, तो समाज के बिखरने का पूरा अंदेशा रहेगा। बेहतर यही होगा कि इस समस्या को नैतिक रूप से सुलझाया जाये। जैसे प्रथम मातृत्वोपरांत महिला बंध्याकरण पर माता को तीसरे और चौथे दर्जे की सरकारी नौकरी दी जाये या फिर पुरुषों की नसबंदी पर किसी भी रेलवे की परीक्षा में कट ऑफ मार्क्स पर 40 नंबर का ग्रेस दिया जाये, तो यह ज्यादा आकर्षित करेगा। कानून का चाबुक तो सिर्फ समाज में वैमनस्यता फैलायेगा। इसे इस नजरिये से भी देख सकते हैं कि हत्या के खिलाफ कड़ा कानून है, लेकिन क्या हत्याएं रुक गयी हैं?

[ Arvindji, having due respect for your views, I beg to differ. I treat this issue as a social ill and do not subscribe to the view that this can be handled well if tough laws come in origin. No specific law is needed to control growth of population. You must be aware of the fact that China implemented one child policy, but it did not give way to any tough law to execute this policy. Despite absence of law, the government agencies gave way to cruel means to make this policy attain logical culmination. The point is even a simple policy is capable of triggering such cruel gestures on part of government. That we need to learn from inhuman treatment of people at the hand of dictatorial government agencies in China. India, on the other hand, is a Pluralistic society. I am sure, a tough stand on part of government, would lead to disintegration of society. I suggest a moralistic approach, for instance, women opting for Tubectomy, after their first pregnancy, should be offered Class Three/ Class Four government jobs. Men, on other hand, opting for Vasectomy, should be given concession in cut off marks set for qualifying in Railway Examinations. The whip of law would only increase tension within the different layers of society. Let’s see it from this angle: Do tough laws that we have to control murder, stopped murders?]

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

नदीमजी पहले तो इस बात के लिए आपको धन्यवाद कि इतने दिनों के बाद कोई पुराना मित्र दमदार तरीके से वापस आया। फेसबुक को सरकार और कुछ मीडिया के लोग बड़ी तिरछी नज़रो से देखते है पर आप जैसो लोगो की उपस्थिति इस मीडियम की सार्थकता बढाती है। मुद्दे पे आते है मेरा रूख थोडा सा अलग है। चीन में लोकतंत्र नहीं है इसलिए वहा से तुलना बेमानी है। ये समस्या विकट है। क्योकि अगर आप भीड़ बढाकर काम नहीं देंगे तो समाज में जुर्म का ग्राफ बढेगा। अराजकता बढ़ेगी कि बिहारी बिहार में रहे और मराठी सिर्फ महाराष्ट्र में।आप देखिये आज जो भी समस्या है इसके मूल में जंगली घास की तरह बढती आबादी ही है। तो मेरी नज़रो में एक स्पष्ट नीति होनी ही चाहिए भले ही सख्त कानूनी स्वरूप उसका ना हो। इसके बाद भी अगर कंट्रोल मे ना आये तो सख्त कानून अनिवार्य है। आप इस देश में कर ही क्या सकते है जब एक बड़ा वर्ग इस बात को मानता है कि जितने हाथ उतना मुनाफा! उनको क्वालिटी आफ लाइफ से क्या लेना देना। आप पोलियो की ड्राप पिलाने में जूझ जाते है तो इस गंभीर समस्या को आप सिर्फ समझा बुझा के कुछ कर पायेंगे मुझे संदेह है। चलिए पहले आप के पाले में बाल डालते हुए पहले समझाने वाला, कुछ साथ में लाभ देने वाला विकल्प ही ट्राई किया जाए। ये अलग बात है कि पानी सर से ऊपर बह रहा है।

[ In the very beginning, I must thank you, Nadeem, for making your presence felt, after such a huge gap,  with such a powerful response. The government is not pretty happy with activism, which prevails on Facebook. Even many circles in traditional media make mockery of journalists involved in world of Facebook. However, I must say such a conscious take on this critical issue on Facebook, makes it clear that people targeting social media are, in actuality, afraid of its ever-increasing influence in deciding the fate of any issue. Let’s come at issue at hand. I have slightly a different perspective than yours, Nadeem. China does not have a democratic set-up and so I don’t think we can contrast our situation with what’s happening there. This is a very serious issue. If you would not create scope for jobs, but keep on increasing the population, then it would automatically increase the crime rate. It will lead to chaotic situation as one state will start rejecting people belonging to a different state: Biharis should live in Bihar and Marathis should remain caged in Maharashtra type conflict would become order of the day! I mean analyze any issue and you would find surging population, spreading like wild grass, as its root cause. That’s why in my eyes, a strict policy has become the need of the hour, whether or not you have a rigorous legal sanctity. If such a policy fails, then there is no other way left other than to give way to tough laws.

You know well that simple measures, devoid of legal force, more often than not, have failed to bear proper results in India. There is a big section in Indian society, belonging to particular community, which believes greater the number of hands, greater is the profit. They care a damn about quality of life. Let’s know that government agencies faced huge difficulties in ensuring smooth  implementation of pulse polio drive, which had no controversial aspect at all. Anyway, you have made good suggestions. There is no harm in giving way to them before experimenting with tough measures. The truth is that water is already flowing above the danger mark.]

Ghanshyam Das, Medical Practitioner, U. A. E.:

Unless everybody is educated, this problem cannot be solved. We can see that thirty years back the average number of children in a middle class family was 4 or 5. And now if we see it is 2. The problem is mainly in the lower class of the society, which is uneducated, and open to accept any level of living and any work (legal/illegal), and that is the class which is a deciding factor in Indian politics. By deciding, I mean, they are easily lured by corrupt politicians, and being in large number make them an important factor. And it will take another 20-30 years, to control the rate of reproduction in this particular sector of society.

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

Thanks for a thought provoking reply, Ghanshyam Dasji. The seriousness of the issue can be felt in exchange of views between me and Nadeem.

Since childhood, I have been reading this slogan “Hum do Humare do” (We Two, Our Two) but I don’t think it has brought any desired impact. And one reason why population graph has gone down in upper middle class, I think, it’s because of high cost of living rather than education. Still, one cannot deny educated families have better approach in this regard. Interestingly, it’s easier to convey messages in modern times. So let’s see what a vigorous campaign comes to yield. But in my eyes, we need to have a clear-cut policy in this regard. Simply messaging and giving concessions would not yield desired result.

Swami Prabhu Chaitanya, Patna, Bihar:

देश का दुर्भाग्य संजय गाँधी ने गलत ढंग से मगर अच्छी पहल की थी. संजय गाँधी की असामयिक मौत ने देश को वर्षों पीछे धकेल दिया। सारे अवसरवादी,वोट के ठेकेदार इस महान अवसर को भुनाने में लगे हैं कि  कैसे अपनी जाति बिरादरी की संख्या को अधिकतम किया जाये। जीवन की गुणवत्ता से इनका क्या वास्ता इनकी तो गद्दी सुरक्षित रहनी चाहिए। पढ़े लिखे (गधों) से इन राजनीतिज्ञों को कोई अपेक्षा नहीं। उन में से अधिकतर तो वोट देते नहीं। उन्हें TV  पर मनोरंजक चर्चाएँ /बहस आदि देखना पसंद है तो जो वोट बैंक हैं उनके उसकी संख्या को तो वे (Politician) बढ़ते देखना चाहेंगे न ?आखिर गणतंत्र (भीड़तन्त्र) चलेगा कैसे ? गुणतन्त्र की बात कोई यहाँ कैसे उठाये ?और चौथा स्तम्भ भी सुनते हैं बिक गया है। एक खास दल जिसके पास अकूत धन है शायद, तंत्र उसीके हिसाब से चलता है।

[ Ironically, Sanjay Gandhi made a good move in this direction, although appropriate methodology was not adopted. The untimely death of Sanjay Gandhi put the nation again in medieval times. The opportunists are now making all efforts to cash-in-on the chaos, which prevails in this nation on this particular issue. Let the tribe of their caste increase is their only motto. They are not interested in quality of life, being solely interested in keeping their bonhomie with power intact. They are not afraid of educated class since it never uses its voting rights, being all the time swayed by cheap thrills of life. Probably, that’s why, politicians are pretty much  interested in greater number of heads in lower sections of society, who constitute their vote bank. How else mobocracy would sustain its presence? Who will dare to ensure quality of life amid this lust for power? Even the Fourth Estate has compromised with its credibility. It appears that this country is ruled by a party, which has amassed huge wealth.]

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

जनसँख्या बढ़ेगी तो वोट बैंक बढेगा …और क्या पता बढ़ते बढ़ते एक अलग देश फिर पैदा हो जाए तो एक नया भ्रष्ट केंद्र बिंदु पैदा हो जाए। इसलिए जनसँख्या बढ़ने दो। और कम पड़ जाए तो बांग्लादेश से बुला लो।

[ Definitely, increase in population would increase the vote bank. And who knows, this ever-increasing population gives birth to another nation, which may give rise to new centers of corruption. So let the population swell! And if they still need more people, invite Bangladeshis!]

Ghanshyam Das, Medical Practitioner, U. A. E.:

Arvind K Pandey ji, you are right in stating that “it’s because of high cost of living rather than education”, but the poor section of the society is equally exposed to the same harshness of high cost of food and clothes, but they fail to realize that it’s due to less developed intellect and go on reproducing mindlessly. That’s because of lack of awareness/education (mere school certificate is not eligible to be called as education until unless it instills the mind with wisdom and intellect). And it is equally true that the population would continue to increase as long as green revolution comes to absorb all the pressure. A time will come when even the best efforts to ensure the food safety will fail to satisfy all of them, the cost of food will rise very high, and there will be no availability of the jobs/or very less paying jobs. That will compel even the lower class of the society to stop breeding further.

It is all about the minimum requirements of the life of a particular individual, which matters. For upper middle class a respectful status in the society is equally important for life as are the foods and clothes. Therefore, they stopped early. For lower section of society, the minimum need is only food and clothes, which will be under risk soon with this rate of their growth, and they will be forced to follow the middle class.

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

One of the advantages in modern society is that messages can be spread easily. So let’s try to increase the level of awareness.

Ghanshyam Das, Medical Practitioner, U. A. E.:

True, otherwise, it will be too late. And the society may collapse. Serious consequences are in store–like increase in crime. If awareness program fails, a binding law is a wise decision. “bhay binu hohi na preeti” (fear factor is necessary to elicit love/respect). Giving way to harsh decisions to prevent a greater disaster, is right in my opinion- something that you have already mentioned above. That’s because the government has not enough resources/employment to lure them. So the alternative way as suggested by Nadeemji does not look feasible in current situation.

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

Finally, Ghanshyamji took a big U turn and felt that “a binding law” is needed. So let’s see what the result of your way, which is recommended by Nadeem as well, yields. I have no problem with this idea, but given the way this nation functions, unless there is well regulated proper policy which supports this vision, I am apprehensive about the success of vision you both collectively share.

Ghanshyam Das, Medical Practitioner, U. A. E.:

So, finally, we arrived at the root cause of all the rot in our society: Poor governance and political scenario!

Arvind K.Pandey, Media Analyst and Writer:

Ghashyamji, you got the bottom-line! This is one of the few conversations on Facebook which took place so well with such a perfect bottom-line. No chaos and confusion in presentation of ideas at all. Hats off to all wonderful participants, for engaging in a thought-provoking discussion in such a well-coordinated manner.


And Life Goes On In India!!

And Life Goes On In India!!


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